Recently, I wrote an article called Timeless Tips to Transition your Wardrobe from Summer to Fall for Trade Secrets Magazine. I love the soft fabrics and bright colors and patterns of summer clothes. My article shared many of the tricks I use to extend my summer wardrobe just a bit longer.
Alas, winter has arrived and layering those delicate fabrics is just not warm enough. It is time to switch to the cozier more wind resistant fabrics such as wool, suede, corduroy, fleece and cashmere.
Before sealing the storage container, I always say a nostalgic “see you in a few months” to my beautiful blouse or cotton dress. I take special care to store my warm weather frocks to ensure that when the lid is sprung open once again, my cherished items are ready to wear and “hole” free.
Here are some great tips to storing and preserving your garments:
1. To donate or not to donate? – Before buying new bins and starting the packing process, ask yourself, does this item fit me well? Did I feel fabulous wearing it this summer? If you had to hesitate to answer this question, it is time donate it! The item will probably sit in your closet next summer or maybe never even leave the bin.
2. Launder first please. – Once you’ve decided what to keep for next summer, this must be your first step before storing! Even in the tightest of bins, little critters will find their way to nibble on your clothes if you leave even the tiniest of crumbs behind. Food stains that are not removed before storing can settle into the material and cause a permanent stain. Wash clothes on the hottest setting possible or dry clean items to rid the items of any traces of food or moth eggs.
3. Watch for extreme temperatures – Clothing can be very temperamental. A hot attic or damp basement can cause mildew and/or permanent staining due to moisture build up .
4. It’s all about the Paper – Acid Free Paper! Plastic garment bags (like those from the Dry Cleaner) hold in condensation and as mentioned above, can stain your clothes. Instead, select a plastic bin or unused suitcase that is durable and has a tight seal. Line the container with acid-free paper to absorb moisture. For additional protection, place the paper in arm sleeves and along pant legs.
When placing clothes in bins, be sure to roll them to avoid sharp creases.
5. Cedar, Moth or Lavender?
It is important to note that it is not the moth itself that does the damage, but its hatching larvae.
Mothballs/Moth Crystals – We all take an alarming sniff when we open a bin or closet that has mothballs in it! That distinctive scent will not only deter moth larvae from chowing on your sweater it will also deter you from wearing it! You may as well toss it into the donate pile or air it out for several days before wearing again. They are also made of pesticides (this what causes the deadly scent!). Need I say more?
Cedar – A safer option that is less pungent. The scent masks the true smell of the wool or desired fabric, which deters moths from laying their eggs on that material. Once the scent decreases so does cedar’s effectiveness. Shave the wood or add cedar oil to replenish the scent.
Lavender – An old housewive’s solution to protecting wool; suspend this delightfully scented medicinal herb in sachets laced with lavender oil from the top of your closet or deep in your drawers. Lavender does not kill moth eggs or larvae so make sure all garments are properly cleaned before storing.
Don’t forget to check on your containers every now and then to make sure there isn’t any damage or unseen infestation. No matter how meticulous you are, no solution is a guarantee to be hole free. Bugs have an uncanny way of showing up in our closets as uninvited guests! Making the extra effort to preserve and properly store your seasonal items though will certainly help.